Football referees in Torit go on strike over arrears
24 football referees in Torit State went on strike since Saturday over non-payment of their arrears amounting to 250,000 SSP by the local football association.
The referees also want sports attires before they resume work.
Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Tuesday, the secretary general for referees’ body in the state, Joseph Oburak Abalu said negative responses from the local football association to their demand since last year caused the strike.
He further said every referee, in accordance with Article 157 of South Sudan’s football law, deserves to be given sports attires.
“According to Article 157 of South Sudan’s football law, it is a requirement for referees to be given attires, but to our surprise, the requirements were not there. We heard there were only 12 pairs of football boots, which were not enough for 24 referees,” Oburak explained.
He added, “The amount of 250,000 SSP we were supposed to receive as agreed upon during the general assembly was not fulfilled”.
John Saturlino Ogieu, one of the affected referees, encouraged the football association to always fulfill its promises to avoid rifts.
David Oling, the coach for 2nd division, said relying on players and coaches to officiate matches will affect results.
“If referees are not there, it will affect us in the ongoing South Sudan cup in Torit. Referees have a big role to play in leagues because they are the ones qualified to officiate football matches,” Oling said.
For his part, Juma Joe Adriano, the president of the Torit football association confirmed the strike.
He said although the association has managed to acquire 15 pairs of shoes for the referees, the problem has remained unresolved.
“We have challenges especially with the referees. Until today, they don’t want to officiate matches. The people officiating now are players with one coach in there. We have a problem that will be communicated to those in Juba to find solutions,” Juma said.
The football official also admitted that they received referees’ request for football boots, whistles, cards and attires. He pointed out that the football association will work to resolve the issue.
Francis Amin, the President of the South Sudan Football Association (SSFA), could not immediately be reached for comment.